Friday, July 07, 2006

Library jazz

"Jazz . . . is . . . weird." --Alex Lifeson, Rush

I enjoy trying out new music from the local library, because if I don't like it, I just return it. My latest tryouts, all of the jazz variety:

The Best of Vince Guaraldi. Just about everyone (myself included) knows what this jazz pianist did for the Peanuts shows, especially the Christmas ones. I wanted to hear some of what else he had composed, and it's fascinating. Much of his work is heavily Latino-tinged and laced with intricate chord patterns. Look for some nice Spanish guitar in these pieces as well. And just as in the Peanuts work, Guaraldi wasn't fond of square chords. Love it. No wonder it was a big risk for CBS to air the Peanuts specials with Guaraldi's music, but . . . it worked.

Pat Metheny, Bright Size Life. Metheny is pretty much hit or miss for me, He's obviously very talented, and I enjoy his works First Circle and As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls. Sometimes, though, he can come out with stuff that makes you go, "Pat, what were you THINKING?!" I'll say more once I've listened to this.

Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons, Welcome to the St. James' Club. I've got many of the Rippingtons' CDs, but I've vacillated on buying this one; I think others like Curves Ahead (the African-tinged "Nature of the Beast" always makes me shudder) and Weekend in Monaco are better. Still, I can't tear myself away from it. Great jazz fusion, as long as guitarist Freeman doesn't try to hog all the limelight as he has done on more recent albums. (ETA: Many like me discovered the Rippingtons through the Weather Channel playing their songs during the local forecasts. Right now/Very recently, TWC has been playing the title song of "Brave New World.")

I've gotten more into jazz lately because I've found very little musical intricacy in today's music elsewhere. So, any recommendations?


mom2bjm said...

Cyg, are you into vocal jazz groups?

Cygnus said...

Not as much, but I'll try anything once . . . who you got in mind?